Magnetic pulse therapy strengthens muscles and prevents frailty, especially for elderly

2 weeks ago 95

SINGAPORE – Mrs Yvette Cheak, 73, could not stand for long periods of time after suffering four or five falls in a few years which left her right leg weak and knee swollen.

In 2021, a friend with similar leg issues recommended that she try a painless therapy: Two years earlier, researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) invented a medical device that sends magnetic pulses through the leg to strengthen muscles without the need for her to exercise.

Every week over three months, Mrs Cheak had a session with the Bixeps device, placing her leg inside it for 10 minutes each time.

After just six weeks of therapy, Mrs Cheak noticed that the swelling had reduced and the pain in her leg subsided.

“I could stand up for longer periods and walk better. I can now do daily morning walks for 45 minutes and also have the strength to carry my grandson,” said the retired compliance officer. She has completed three cycles of the three-month therapy to maintain her limb strength, and is now on her fourth cycle.

Explaining how Bixeps (pronounced “biceps”) works, Associate Professor Alfredo Franco-Obregon, principal investigator with the NUS Institute for Health Innovation and Technology (iHealthtech), said the magnetic pulses activate a structure in the muscle cells, called the mitochondria, which produces energy. This then triggers a metabolic response in the cells and releases factors called myokines that appear during exercise, he added. Myokines aid the regeneration of muscles.

Mrs Cheak was among more than 100 patients aged between 38 and 91 who participated in a clinical trial between 2020 and 2022. The trial results showed that the machine helped to prevent frailty and make muscles stronger, especially for the elderly. The average age of the participants was 68.

More than 70 per cent of the participants saw healthy changes...

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